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THE splashpad in King George V playing field was reopened last month by Melksham Town Council.
The waterplay facility, which first opened last year, will be open daily from 10am to 4pm until the end of this month.
As part of measures to keep the area ‘Covid-secure’, the maximum number of children allowed into the splashpad area will be limited to 10 – and this will be managed by town council staff, with the occasional support, when needed, of town councillors.
A spokesperson for the council said, “Melksham Town Council is thrilled to be opening one of our town’s most loved public amenities this weekend. This is the culmination of a great deal of work across our team, from our office apprentice, to the locum town clerk. Commissioning the splashpad each season involves a lot of preliminary jobs including pre-opening maintenance, water testing and balancing – an essential feature of a safe operation. Overlay this with the added complexity this year of ensuring the facility operates in a Covid-19 secure manner and it becomes easy to understand why relatively few splashpad facilities of this particular type have opened up across the country this year.
“The splashpad will be operating a little differently this year to ensure that risks associated with Covid-19 are mitigated. To celebrate our great British resilience, we will be asking our splashpad visitors to queue in order to receive a coloured wristband.
“Groups of children will be allowed into the facility for fifteen minute slots at a time. When leaving the splashpad, wristbands will be returned and sanitised, and the next group will go in. This is to ensure enough space to play safely, but also to make sure everyone gets a turn. Kids exiting the splashpad can go right back to the end of the queue for another go!
“Track and trace forms will be provided, a one-way system for the toilets has been devised and we will be providing two extra members of staff up at the site, to help keep things safe and running smoothly. Waterproof nappies will be provided free of charge.
“The splashpad will be run by members of our Town Hall office, Assembly Hall and amenities teams. Where we require additional help, this will be volunteered by Melksham Town Councillors. Let’s all hope for another month of hot weather, and we look forward to seeing you up in the park in the next few weeks.”
The reopening was given the go-ahead at last months’s extraordinary meeting of the full Melksham Town Council. Cllr Terri Welch praised the work of town council staff for making the reopening possible and said that she hoped that it would give the town’s young people a ‘month of fun’.
At the meeting, cllr Jon Hubbard raised questions about whether staff and volunteers working at the splashpad should be DBS checked.
In response to his questions, locum town clerk for the town council, Steve Milton, explained, “We have carefully considered the need for DBS checks and none of the children using the facility will be unsupervised and therefore our staff operating the facility will not be in any way directing or managing the activities of children.
“Therefore, we’ve concluded that DBS checking is not required in this case.”
However, when cllr Hubbard asked to see a safeguarding report that supported this decision, his request was left unanswered.